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A progressive step: On panel for AFSPA by Nagaland

Context:

The announcement by the Nagaland government that a high-powered panel will be set up to look into the withdrawal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act in the State – addresses a key concern in the Northeast following the Mon massacre where a botched ambush by an armed forces unit led to the deaths of 15 civilians in December 2021.

Relevance:

GS-II: Polity and Constitution, GS-II: Governance, GS-III: Internal Security Challenges

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), Criticisms, Constitutionality and judgements, and the Naga Issue in relation with AFSPA
  2. About the committee for looking into the withdrawal of AFSPA
  3. Precedents for the Panel to support the repealing of AFSPA

Click Here to read about Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), Criticisms, Constitutionality and judgements, and the Naga Issue in relation with AFSPA

About the committee for looking into the withdrawal of AFSPA

  • The committee formation announcement was made by Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio and the committee would look into the AFSPA withdrawal from not only Nagaland but in the entire northeast.
  • According to the announcement the committee will be headed by the Additional Secretary (Northeast) in the Ministry of Home Affairs and will include Nagaland’s Chief Secretary and Director-General of Police. The other members will be Inspector General of Assam Rifles (North) and a representative of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).
  • The statement said the committee would submit its report within 45 days. The withdrawal of the “disturbed area” notification and the AFSPA from Nagaland will be based on the recommendations of the committee, it added.
  • The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has maintained a studied silence on the constitution of the committee on withdrawal of the AFSPA.
  • Nevertheless, the gesture to set up a panel, even if it is acknowledged only by the Nagaland government, should help in assuaging some concerns of citizens of the State who had immediately associated the massacre with the impunity afforded by the unpopular Act.

Precedents for the Panel to support the repealing of AFSPA

Justice Jeevan Reddy Committee

  • The Justice Jeevan Reddy Committee set up by the previous UPA-led government at the Centre in 2005 had recommended the repeal of the Act calling it “highly undesirable” and that it created an impression that civilians in the Northeast were being targeted for hostile treatment.
  • The commission recommended to repeal AFSPA as “the Act is a symbol of hate, oppression and instrument of high handedness”.

Steps taken by Other States:

  • Tripura revoked the AFSPA Act in May 2015 after noticing an improvement on the ground in the State.
  • Meghalaya did the same on April 1, 2018. Both States did so after the Act was in force for decades.

-Source: The Hindu

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September 2022
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